On the Frontier: Medi-Cal Brings Managed Care to California’s Rural Counties

Kemper Consulting Group


Medi-Cal has recently expanded managed care into 28 California counties, almost all of which are sparsely populated. Eighteen of the counties are designated as “frontier” areas. As of July 2014, more than 400,000 people had joined Medi-Cal managed care health plans under this rural expansion.

This report offers a first look at implementation of the expansion and identifies key issues and opportunities to help guide policy and program development. In particular, it looks at:

  • The unique characteristics of the health care environments in the rural expansion counties
  • Managed care plan standards and how the relevant state agencies evaluate performance in rural areas
  • How the counties and health plans have fared with regard to provider access
  • What early data indicate are key issues that will require state attention

The report is based on interviews with a wide variety of stakeholders, as well as on document research.

The complete report is available as a Document Download.